Percy Hedley Foundation COVID-19 Update – 12.01.21

This has been an extraordinary year for the Foundation which has brought new challenges and opportunities as we have responded to the unprecedented circumstances as a result of the pandemic. We continue to work with our staff, Public Health England, commissioners and unions to ensure service users and staff are safe.  The  pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, and last week, the Prime Minister announced another national lockdown as the number of positive cases of COVID-19 increased across the country. I wanted to share an update on what’s happening across the Foundation since the announcement last week. 

As a provider of frontline services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community, most services have remained open throughout the pandemic, providing homes and vital support for our service users. In the last couple of weeks, there has been an increase in the number of positive cases and our teams continue to do an amazing job making sure that they keep services running wherever it is safe to do so.  This is not easy and there are times where staffing is reduced and we have to take quick decisions.  For example, this means we may need to send pupils, young people and service users home until staff return from isolation.  We take every possible action to avoid this and would only do so as a last resort If your child/family member is affected, we will inform you as soon as we possibly can and support with any necessary arrangements.   

Across the Foundation the guidance we follow differs depending on the setting (ie Education or Social care) so wmonitor government guidance very closely.  We also work closely with our Local Authority education and social care commissioners, Public Health colleagues and trade unions We monitor the situation closely and where there are positive cases of COVID-19 in our college, student or service user population, we follow isolation guidance and complete required Local Authority tracing protocol to identify close contacts of the positive case.  Sometimes this means we need to close all or part of a bubble and ask the people in it to isolate at home.  We try to update all families with what is happening as quickly as we can, but please bear with us if it takes us a little longer than we would like to get information out to anyone who is not directly affected. 

The request from the government is to stay at home wherever possible, and across our schools and college, some of our students are now learning from home.  We continue to get positive thanks for our fantastic staff teams who have worked hard to set up remote learning for students.  I would also like to say a huge well done to all our students and their parents who are helping them to do the home learning – you are all doing a fantastic job.  Our teams will be checking in with you regularly to see if there is any other support you need during the lockdown. 

The planning and implementation of the rapid or Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for staff, students and service users is well advanced across all sites for those who agree to complete the regularly tests.  This will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19; and support us in managing the impact on staff through the ability to implement serial testing where sanctioned by government guidance. 

Our promise is to put people at the heart of what we do, and as CEO, I am extremely proud of the commitment, resilience, and agility that staff across the organisation have shown this year through challenging circumstances. 

As we now look forward to a new future with COVID-19 as part of our lives for the near future I would like to show my deepest gratitude to carers, parents and families and once again to the Percy Hedley team who I see making such a difference every day to people’s lives, and who will give us the strength and resilience to continue to deliver in the coming year. 

These are unprecedented times, and we have faced challenges we never thought we would over the last 12 months.  I know how difficult this is for everyone, and I would like to say a huge thank you for all your continued support.   

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we will respond as quickly as we can. 

Carole Harder, Chief Executive 

Update from Jonathan Jowett, Chair, Board of Trustees:

Following the closure of Bradbury View 52-week children’s home in September, the Trustees initiated an independent review of events that led to the closure. The Trustees recently received initial feedback from the independent reviewer, and the draft report is expected to be made available to Trustees before the Christmas break. The Trustees will then meet to consider the report in early January, ahead of the reviewer issuing the final report. The Trustees will put in place a Foundation-wide action plan to address both the matters raised by OFSTED and the recommendations from the independent review.

Whilst we will not be in a position to disclose anything further before Christmas, we are aiming to be publishing details of the key findings of the review, and the plans to address its recommendations as soon as possible in the New Year.

We would like to thank all of our stakeholders for their patience as we work through the report, and we take this opportunity to send everyone connected to Percy Hedley Foundation our best wishes and compliments of the season.

Here at The Percy Hedley Foundation, we’ve been working closely with Northumbria Police this December to help make their Christmas video message inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Staff and students at our Northern Counties School have been teaching police officers, staff and volunteers British Sign Language which has been played in primary schools across the region.

We’re one of the charities that the Force has chosen to support this Christmas with its in-house Christmas fundraising activity.

To celebrate this special relationship and say thank you, we invited Chief Constable Winton Keenen to a festive celebration event on Tuesday 15 December.

At the event our signing choir performed two Christmas songs to thank our friends from Northumbria Police, and some of our hearing impaired students had the chance to ask the Chief Constable some questions.

Chief Constable Winton Keenan said: “At Northumbria Police we continually seek to be a truly inclusive organisation and my aim has always been to bring the Force closer to the fantastic communities we are so privileged to serve here in the North East.

“I was therefore delighted by the great response we received from the Percy Hedley Foundation after we reached out to see if they could help us send and create some positive thoughts and feelings across the region this Christmas.

“The Foundation and especially the people and families they support are truly inspiring.”

Head of fundraising at Percy Hedley, Suzanne Mckenna said:This year we have worked with Northumbria Police to help produce their Christmas message, by helping officers sign to ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’.

“In addition to this, we are absolutely delighted that Northumbria Police have chosen the Percy Hedley Foundation to be one of their chosen charities this year.

“To say thank you, our wonderful choir at Northern counties school sent a thank you video message to Northumbria police and Chief Constable Winton Keenen has taken the time today to come down and personally say thank you and deliver some gifts to the children.”

Usually at this time of year students from our schools, Northern Counties and Percy Hedley School, would be preparing to visit Intu Eldon Square and MetroCentre to perform their carols and Christmas songs for you and collect donations to support our work. Due to lockdown restrictions, sadly, they are unable to perform live this year, but we have worked some early Christmas magic to be able to bring their performances to you!

We are delighted however to announce that we will be sharing Christmas Carols and songs performed by our students from Northern Counties and Percy Hedley Schools throughout December on our Facebook pages, sneak preview below!

We would love it if you would share our videos with your family and friends and ask them to put some coins in our ‘virtual’ collection buckets by visiting our dedicated page and making an online donation.  Your support will help us continue to improve the lives of the disabled children, young people and adults we care for every day.

Please help Percy Hedley spread a little festive cheer, lift the spirit and warm the heart at this challenging time.  Thank you.

Today is #GivingTuesday!

December 1st is #GivingTuesday, an international day of global giving

#GivingTuesday is a day where everyone, everywhere can do something to support the good causes that mean so much to them.

All over the world people are marking today by donating to charities close to their hearts.

We are so grateful to everyone who supports Percy Hedley every day.  Your time, energy, enthusiasm and donations are very much appreciated.

If you would like to make this #GivingTuesday special for the hundreds of disabled people we care for every day, you can make a donation here. Thank you.


These are challenging times for us all and as we adapt to these unprecedented circumstances, we are so very grateful to you for your continued support.

Sadly, like so many charities, most of our planned fundraising events have been cancelled this year but we are so grateful to our wonderful supporters who continue to come up with creative and engaging ways to support us.

This year, we are asking our supporters to send ecards instead of greetings cards and donate the money saved in doing so.

We have partnered with Don’t Send Me A so you can send festive ecards to your family, friends and colleagues whilst donating the equivalent cost of Christmas cards and/or postage to Percy Hedley and helping us continue to provide the best support for the disabled people in our schools, college and care homes.

Simply visit

2020 certainly hasn’t turned out the way any of us expected.  What hasn’t changed is our commitment to providing care, education and support for disabled children, young people and adults throughout the pandemic.

Thanks for your continued support, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Text PERCY to 70215 to be in with a chance of winning a brand new car!

You may have already heard about the Great Northern Raffle, a fantastic fundraising initiative set up by local philanthropist Jeremy Middleton to support North East charities during the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.  We are so grateful to Jeremy and his team at Charity Escapes for their outstanding support.

There have already been some amazing prizes won since the monthly draw started in September, but nothing as spectacular as their Christmas draw which has a top prize of a brand new car, namely a Hyundai i10 worth a whopping £17,000 kindly donated by Bristol Street Motors!

To be in with a chance of winning simply text the word PERCY to 70215.  You will then be able to leave a voluntary donation to Percy Hedley to support our work.

We would love to see one of our fantastic Percy Hedley supporters drive into 2021 in a brand new car, so get texting now!


Closing date: 9pm, 31 Dec 2020, winner announced 18 Jan 2021. Texts cost one standard rate message and you will be opting in to receive updates inc. marketing relating to the Great Northern Raffle via SMS. For full T&Cs and more info visit

Right now, we should be gearing up for our annual Percy Hedley Ball on 21 November to raise vital funds for this work.  Sadly, like so many fundraising events it can’t go ahead.  Instead we’re bringing the glamour and fun of our ball to your living room with…

The Percy Hedley Online Auction

Whether you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present or maybe planning adventures in 2021, we have something for everyone, all without you having to leave the house!

The auction runs from Tuesday 10 November and will run until Sunday 22 November with some amazing items up for grabs, including something very special from our great supporter David Walliams…

You can bid as many times as you like, and the money raised will help us support disabled children, adults and young people across the North East.

Our grateful thanks go to our auction sponsor Tolent and to everyone who has donated prizes

We know that the restrictions on visits are really difficult for our residents and their friends and relatives who are dearly missing each other and we have received a lot of enquiries from relatives about the current situation over the last month.  The newest guidance is available:

The newest guidance states clearly that visits in areas identified as Tier 2 ( HIGH RISK) should only go ahead in the case of exceptional circumstances such as end of life.

However we are committed to reviewing our visiting policy regularly and following advice from our Local Authority advisors, we are now able to consider visiting arrangements on an individual basis under strictly managed circumstances. This means that visiting is not a Foundation wide policy, but a service led, risk assessed decision.

We are reviewing each site to identify a weather appropriate designated visiting area outside of the care home in the grounds, that allows either 2 metres plus social distancing or has a physical perspex screen (like the ones used in supermarkets). This process may mean that visiting on some sites is available sooner than others and for that we can only apologise as we try to adapt to this ever changing situation. We will aim to have all sites able to accommodate visitors as soon as we can. However these may be weather dependant until appropriate, safe covered areas are available.

Visitors must wear PPE provided by ourselves and all infection control procedures must be followed.

Staff must be able to support the visit in order that all procedures are followed.

If the service is quarantined because of a positive case or outbreak, or the area, where that service is located moves into tier 3, then visiting will again unfortunately have to cease with immediate effect.

We know that it can be confusing with constantly changing information, and frustrating waiting for guidance to be published so thank you bearing with us as we try and find the best way to support our residents to have increased social interaction with their loved ones while continuing to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Your service will contact you directly as soon as visiting is available.

Percy Hedley Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Deane as its new Director of Residential Care and Safeguarding.

Lisa’s immediate remit is to ensure all residential services retain full compliance with Ofsted and CQC standards, with a particular focus on safeguarding, service user health and wellbeing, strong leadership, continuous improvement and staff development.

Lisa is an accomplished leader with a proven track record of business turnaround and improvement in residential services.

Carole Harder, CEO, commented: “Lisa brings exceptional experience to the role having worked at managing director level for a range of leading providers of both children’s and adult’s services who specialised in providing services for people with a range of complex needs. Her work in previous roles as the responsible and nominated individual within adult and children’s residential services will provide strong leadership to drive our journey of continuous service improvement.”